ekko.world about a talk she is giving at the AREDAY Environmental Summit, in Aspen, Colorado. Jennifer is on a panel called Warriors, Wisdom and ">
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Vic on Ekko today - Veggies tomorrow :
Good food for thought Judy. There is little ... »

Ekko today - Veggies tomorrow

By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

This week I've been chatting to Jennifer Nielsen founder of ekko.world about a talk she is giving at the AREDAY Environmental Summit, in Aspen, Colorado. Jennifer is on a panel called Warriors, Wisdom and Leadership: Women Trailblazing the Transformation to Sustainability, and her talk is about the importance of building an eco-alliance, a community where the collective goal is to make each of us aware of our impact on the environment, and what we can do to make it better. She was trying to stress the point that everyone feels guilty when they consume too much. To be clear, she was not just talking about edible consumption, but everything we consume, because the more we consume of anything, the greater the impact on the environment.

That point is clear; whether we all feel guilty about it is another matter.

It's true that people feel guilty about how much they spend, and people feel guilty about how much they eat and drink but I doubt that many people think about how much they buy and the impact on the environment. I hope I'm wrong because it would be better to feel guilty and do something to alleviate that guilt now before it's too late, than look back and reflect on how our collective consumption led to an irreversible situation where we could no longer - for example - eat healthy food.

Consider the impact of that for a moment. Vegetables are vital components of a healthy, balanced and sustainable diet, and doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, health professionals and healthy food bloggers are united in one voice when they say we should incorporate more of them into our daily diet.

But what if we couldn't buy them?

A new study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), has examined the extent to which projected changes in the environment, such as increases in temperature and reduced water availability, could affect the production and nutritional quality of common crops such as tomatoes, leafy vegetables and pulses.

If no action is taken, the researchers estimate that the environmental changes predicted to occur by mid- to end-century in water availability and ozone concentrations would reduce average yields of vegetables by 35%. In warmer countries like Australia, Southern Europe and large parts of Africa and South Asia, increased air temperatures would reduce average vegetable yields by an estimated 31%. Such reductions in the yields of vegetables will substantially alter their availability globally making them less affordable. The mid to long term consequences being a decrease in vegetable consumption and significant population health problems all around the world.
(Source Science Daily)

Returning to Jennifer's comment about consumer guilt. I think most of us only feel guilty when there are tangible consequences to doing something wrong. The alcoholic is guilty when he or she wakes up to the fact the family have left him, ditto the gambler when he (or she) has lost his house and family, but the collective addiction to consumerism is more subtle and harder to grasp. It's something we have to be aware of before it's too late.

We have to take some responsibility for our actions today so we don't feel guilty about them tomorrow.

Today we can do something for this great planet. We can eat less meat and eat more vegetables. We can shop local and buy only what we need. We can take our own bags to the store to reduce our use of plastic and we try as best we can to reduce food waste.

Beyond that there's a raft of other things you can do and if you need inspiration head over to ekko.world for some ideas.

And then consider how lucky we are to have an abundance of vegetables available to us at such an affordable price now and how much we want it to stay that way.


Jun 14 2018 10:09PM
Good food for thought Judy.

There is little doubt that the growing areas producing foods will shift to match the climate changes over the next few years. However, there are some fascinating technologies for making water from anything wet using nano filtration or other means, pulling water from the air, growing with aeroponics and a few other options in development. Indoor vertical farms might be a way we grow produce using idealized photosynthetic wavelengths and soil rich in micro-organisms for nutrient mineralization/mobilization processes. These are so important for the plants to absorb minerals that we ultimately need too.

I am not sure about tomatoes, leafy greens and pulses. I question their food value and the economies of agriculture. Tomatoes need lots of water and the seeds and juice contain lectins which are implicated in leaky gut and food sensitivities. Perhaps if growers looked to heirloom varieties and wild relatives they could re-engineer these fruit-vegetables. If not, then we don't need leafy greens which only exist to stop the tomatoes from soaking the bread. No nutritional reason to eat greens otherwise. And as for pulses - I have eaten witjuti, bardi and other grubs, crickets, grasshoppers, dragonflies, termite eggs and a host of other insects in various stages of their growth. I can add turtle eggs, turtle hatchlings and even turtle offal to my food list but I draw the line at pulses. Jesus and his apostles can keep them. I am one of those poor souls who feel like dying after a meal of pulses and cannot believe that they are really edible in anything but tiny quantities. AND then there are their antinutritional components and phytate content.

But back to sustainability. I commend you on your coverage of this topic. We do need to eat less meat, eat less all up and take responsibility for what we do with our food, plastic and water use. Big Ag and Big Farma are expert in blunt-force production. Throw enough fossil fuel resources as diesel, fertilizer, insecticides and pumped river and subterranean water at sterile ground and they produce stuff you can eat but may not be worth eating. The next gen foods are organic by nature (it is not a marketing feature but the way food always was before). We need to create functionally sustainable ecosystems that are highly biodiverse and can support the carrying capacity of the land under those ecosystems and if this is less people then we need to reduce the population over time. If we do not then a great number of us will die along with the richness of this planet's living diversity.

The following is from a tribute to Dr Yunupingu written by Tess Lawrence (I strongly recommend reading it as an amazing article on the man) - see https://nit.com.au/australia-fail-dr-yunupingu/

"His (Yunupingu's) words, melodies and tribal language transcended the dead seas and dying poisoned reefs, river water thieves, voluptuous tropical rain forests, wind-whipped deserts and zinc-lipped white beaches of our temperamental and tempestuous feral continent that we have long defiled and subjected to environmental abuse and homegrown domestic eco-violence."

It is time we recognized what we still have and that it is time to sideline short-term politicians and to stop money-grubbing industries such as land developers, miners and Big Farma. It is time to make a difference or Australia as our Country will go the same way as Dr Yunupingu and die a death which could easily have been avoided.
Comment by: Vic

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